Explain the role of African-American soldiers in the Spanish-American War and the revolt in the Philippines.

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Despite being neglected of the most basic of civil liberties in their homeland, African-Americans fought valiantly in both the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. African-American troops were called Buffalo Soldiers and they were known for their tenacious fighting ability. In the famed charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War,...

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Despite being neglected of the most basic of civil liberties in their homeland, African-Americans fought valiantly in both the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. African-American troops were called Buffalo Soldiers and they were known for their tenacious fighting ability. In the famed charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, they helped Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders" secure victory in the battle. After the battle, John Pershing, who would become commander of American forces in World War I commented:

"They fought their way into the hearts of the American people."

It should be noted that the African-American soldiers that fought for their country were often targets of racism during their service. Despite whatever difficulties they faced, over 17,000 black soldiers served in the Spanish-American War. African-Americans were not permitted to lead troops as officers even though they had proven their capabilities as fighting men.  This caused a great deal of disappointment among the black troops.  

African-Americans were also important to the fighting in the Philippines. They fought in segregated units with white officers. Edward L. Baker, an African-American soldier was even granted the Congressional Medal of Honor. An important story in black participation in these wars is that it was unpopular among many African-American leaders and intellectuals. The reason for this is because many felt that because the United States was fighting against a non-white enemy, Jim Crow policies would be extended to those countries should the United States win. Despite this, many black soldiers felt they could help the cause of civil rights in the United States by demonstrating their loyalty and commitment on the battlefield.

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